The new National Security Council Bill should be withdrawn from debate tomorrow to allow MPs and civil society adequate time to study its far-reaching implications on civil liberties
The new National Security Council (NSC) Bill should be withdrawn from debate and passage tomorrow and deferred until Parliament next month to allow Members of Parliament and the civil society adequate time to study its far-reaching implications on human rights and democratic freedoms in Malaysia.
The 33-page Bill, in both Bahasa Malaysia and English, was only presented in Dewan Rakyat for first reading and it is really ridiculous and outrageous to rush through the second and third readings for the Bill tomorrow, without giving MPs and the civil society the opportunity to study its far-reaching implications on human rights and democratic freedoms in the country.
Members of Parliament may not be required to understand the real implications of the law, as their only requirement is to vote in support of any bill which the government tables in Parliament, but it is an insult to the intelligence of Pakatan Harapan Members of Parliament and discerning members of the public to expect them to behave like unthinking and obedient robots or digits to give blank cheque support to whatever is decided by the Cabinet.
In fact, I believe the majority of the Ministers may not even understand the far-reaching implications of the National Security Bill although they all nodded in agreement when the Bill presented for Cabinet consent by the relevant Ministry and department concerned.
As Parliament is meeting in special session next month to debate the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), the NSC Bill can be included as a second item for the Special Parliament in January if the government is prepared to make out a case for urgency for the NSC Bill to be passed.
Concerns that the NSC Bill will give excessive, extensive and arbitrary powers to the Prime Minister and endanger civil liberties must be fully studied and addressed before the Bill is rushed through to become law.